Growing numbers of people around the world are experiencing stress and anxiety related to the current political climate. If they already have an underlying mental health issue, their worries about politics are making it worse—and even people who have never been diagnosed with a disorder are experiencing anxiety around this matter.
So, what’s going on? Why are so many people upset about this area?
There is more than one factor at play:
While the world of politics has always had its murky side—and while we’ve certainly passed through worse in our collective history (think of the horrors of the Second World War)—today most of us feel more informed because of a constant stream of online data on our phones and other devices. Moreover, these devices often filter the news we see according to what we seem to be interested in, which means that if we are concerned about a particular topic and tend to read widely about it, we’ll see more and more news stories relevant to the issue. Obviously, this can have the effect of making it seem even worse than we already think it is! Because many of us spend so much time online, we also have the opportunity to join forums and other groups of like-minded people. This, again, can serve to bolster anxiety, as people with shared concerns affirm and underline the matters that worry us.
At the same time, the sort of dialogue and language used by many current politicians has changed, as they in turn adjust to a networked world in which short, punchy bursts of information tend to get more attention. The result is that issues that are often very complex are not discussed in the nuanced way they deserve, or at least not in the public arena. When they are issues of great concern to us, this can be quite alarming!
So, what can someone experiencing anxiety around politics do? First of all, it can be helpful to limit the amount of time they spend online, in forums, and on social media, as there is nothing to gain from constant exposure to data about a topic that is worrying or upsetting. Of course, it is important to stay informed, but that can be done with a daily or even weekly read—there is no need to sign up for alerts 24/7. Secondly, feeling powerless is a common source of anxiety, so it can be helpful to do something—and to choose a realistic goal. For example, nobody can solve the problem of global warming on their own—but we can all make changes in our own homes, and we can get involved in community groups that work to improve the environment. And, of course, if our anxiety is causing us too many problems, it may be useful to talk things over with a suitably qualified professional.
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.